These products are among the most popular food items in our society. Certain baked goods are considered non-potentially hazardous foods under the Colorado Cottage Foods Act and can be sold as cottage foods.
Only non-potentially hazardous baked goods are allowed. Baked goods such as cream, custard, or meringue pies, cakes and pastries with cream cheese fillings or icings, or pastries containing meats and cheeses are not permitted.
Breads, Rolls, and Muffins
Foods made of flour, water, yeast or another leavening agent, mixed together and baked.
Cakes and Quick Breads
A sweet, baked, bread-like food, usually containing flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, eggs and flavoring.
A baked food composed of a shell filled with fruit or other non-potentially hazardous ingredients.
Cookies and Biscuits
A small cake of shortened bread leavened with baking powder or soda.
Danishes, croissants, baklava, strudel, scones, and many others. Pastries often have sweet fillings, however, if these are potentially hazardous and require refrigeration, they would not be permitted under the Colorado Cottage Foods Act.
A breakfast and snack food often consisting of oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes other grains, which are usually baked until crisp. Dried fruits, nuts, and/or chocolate are sometimes added.
Food Safety Concerns
Two of the main food safety concerns related to baked goods include: (1) using fillings or icings which require refrigeration, making the produce potentially hazardous and susceptible to rapid growth of harmful microorganisms and (2) following improper handling after baking which could contaminate the product. Bacteria or viruses can be transferred to baked goods from unclean hands, surfaces, or containers; foodborne illness outbreaks have been associated with baked goods from this type of cross-contamination.
Products must be packaged in food grade materials. All cottage food products must display the information required by the Colorado Cottage Foods Act and outlined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Q: How do you label a cake that is unpackaged?
A: For cakes that are not easily packaged, you must include all labeling requirements on the invoice and deliver the invoice with the cake directly to the consumer. Smaller cakes must be boxed, and the label must be included on the box.
Q: Are cupcakes with butter cream frosting allowed?
A: Only butter cream frosting that does not require refrigeration, for instance, if the recipe uses shortening instead of butter.
Colorado State University Extension is a good resource for high-altitude and gluten-free baking: http://extension.colostate.edu
Colorado Cottage Foods Act
Colorado Senate Bill 12-048 allows individuals to produce, sell, and store a limited number of specific, non-potentially hazardous ‘cottage food’ products, in a home kitchen. Cottage food businesses require no license or permit from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and are not inspected by any state or local government entity. Products must be sold directly by the cottage foods operator to an informed end consumer, and gross sales for each product produced must not exceed $10,000 annually. Sales outside of the state of Colorado are prohibited.
Allowed Cottage Food Products in Colorado
A limited range of foods that are non-potentially hazardous and do not require refrigeration are allowed. These foods include spices, teas, dehydrated produce, nuts, seeds, honey, jams, jellies, preserves, fruit butter, flour, baked goods including candies, fruit empanadas, and tortillas, and pickled fruits and vegetables.
General Labeling Requirements
A cottage food operation may only sell products offered with a label containing the following information (printed in English):
Food Safety Training
Although a cottage food kitchen does not require licensure, the producer does need to obtain food safety training. The Colorado Cottage Food Act requires “a producer must take a food safety course that includes basic food handling training and is comparable to, or is a course given by, the Colorado State University Extension service or a state, county, or district public health agency, and must maintain a status of good standing in accordance with the course requirements, including attending any additional classes if necessary.”
Trainings that CSU Extension offers include face-to-face as well as online classes, varying in length and cost. Contact your CSU Extension county office for more details: http://extension.colostate.edu. For information on class offerings near you, visit: https://foodsmartcolorado.colostate.edu/food-safety/cottage-retail-foods/.